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Pfizer says delaying drug price hikes after Trump conversation

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Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it was deferring drug price increases for no more than six months after the company's chief executive officer had an extensive conversation with US President Donald Trump.

[WASHINGTON] Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it was deferring drug price increases for no more than six months after the company's chief executive officer had an extensive conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Pfizer said it would defer price increases that went into effect on July 1 until the end of the year or until the president's drug pricing blueprint goes into effect - whichever is sooner. The company said it would return drug prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible.

Mr Trump in a tweet on Tuesday said that Pfizer had agreed to roll back drug price hikes after he and US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke with Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read.

"We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same," Mr Trump said in a tweet.

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Mr Trump rolled out a blueprint in May that laid out how the administration planned to lower drug prices, a top 2016 presidential campaign promise. Mr Trump had said in May that some drug companies would announce "voluntary, massive" price decreases in two weeks, but none have materialised yet.

Pharmaceutical company shares rose after Mr Trump unveiled his drug pricing blueprint and the administration has not yet taken serious action to lower prices.

Pfizer raised list prices on around 40 medicines earlier this month. Those include Viagra, cholesterol drug Lipitor and arthritis treatment Xeljanz, according to Wells Fargo. List prices do not include rebates and discounts drugmakers may offer.

On Monday, Mr Trump took aim at Pfizer and other US drugmakers after they raised prices on some of their medicines on July 1, saying his administration would respond.

"The increases must stop and it shows a constructive professional appropriate approach by Pfizer in interacting with the government and the president to be part of the solution and not part of the problem," Mr Azar said on CNN on Tuesday.

REUTERS